Friday, March 28, 2008

Blogging about Kids in the Garden

I find that I spend one-half hour to an hour a day on the Garden Portraits blog. I have so many ideas for different types of blogs that I could probably make it a full time venture. I recently started another blog about kids gardening and aimed to give a new idea for things to do with kids in the garden every day. It is unrealistic for me to maintain both blogs and to do it well. So, instead, I will devote one day a month to listing garden ideas for kids. Here are my favorites that I've already listed on "Kids in the Garden" (these ideas are intended for pre-spring weather):

Seeds - Remember planting a seed in a cup as a kid? Remember how exciting it was to watch the seed crack open and the little green shoot sprout out? Buy your seeds today. There are many online catalogs to review with your kids or order catalogs online. Burpee and Park Seeds are great for vegetables. Vegetables are a good way to start. Kids can start thinking about growing their own food. Let kids look through the shiny pictures. Let them see the many varieties of foods. Let THEM choose what to buy. When the order comes, we'll be ready to plant.

Nature Visualization - Create a nature visualization for children. Have your child close his eyes and create a nature story. Have the child imagine that he is a living thing in your yard. You may want to try the following words. "Imagine that you are a tiny bulb who hibernated beneath the ground all winter. Imagine your first days pushing out of the soil in spring. As the earth warms while we look toward summer, it warms you. You tingle and stretch yourself awakening to the warmer weather. You feel the strength of your stem, through which you will suck up water and nutrients to make you grow. Imagine that you have grown into a tiny new flower swaying in the spring breeze. The wind gathering beneath your petals and making you flutter like a butterfly." Create your own imagination stories about kids being birds, bugs, and trees. Also have the child imagine that he is himself playing out in nature, lying in the grass, running his toes in fresh dew, etc. This exercise can also be done with movement. I find that the quiet, eyes closed (meditation) version is great to use after a nightmare. It helps calm the child.

Books - As a librarian, I tend to turn to books to help teach me about any subject. And while the best way to learn about nature is by experiencing it, there is a lot a child can learn about the subject through the world of books. One can be drawn into a character's world and become excited about a topic by experiencing it through another's stories. I highly recommend The Secret Garden. It's poetic language and charming story about the adventures of three children interacting with nature is magical. On a cold rainy day, a nature book is the perfect prescription for a little sunshine. For more nature books see Suggested Readings on Children and Nature.

Photography - Around age two a child can begin to play with a camera. If she is old enough to look through a viewfinder, she is old enough to take pictures. Use a disposable film camera or one of the new durable digitals made especially by kids. Take your child outside and let them point and shoot. You'll be amazed what they come up with. You can help out by pointing out things such as the melting snow in a rushing brook or moss growing on trees. Using a camera helps one better learn to see the world by forcing the photographer to scout out the details. Consider taking the camera with you on a nature walk.

See more ideas at Garden Portraits Kids.
What nature activities do you like to do with your kids this time of year?

1 comment:

Nancy J. Bond said...

What wonderful ideas! I'm jotting these down for when my grandson is just a bit older. :) I remember growing bean plants in junior high school as a Science project -- what fun!